Professor of English, Director of Graduate Studies
What is criticism for? What does it mean to be a cultural critic? I've tried to answer that question in a range of essays, such as "The Posttheory Generation" and "The New Belletrism," as well as in a series of interviews, some of which are collected in Critics at Work: Interviews 1993-2003
(NYU, 2004). One aim of criticism that I think is especially important is to look at the state of higher education, and I have focused particularly on student debt, for instance in "Debt Education" and "Student Debt and the Spirit of Indenture," both in Dissent
(I also contribute to Dissent's "Arguing the World" blog). Another focus has been on academic life itself, and I'm completing a book on "The Academic Condition," which includes essays on "Smart" and "Academostars." I also write on the history of the novel, for instance in my book Theory and the Novel: Reflexivity in the British Tradition (Cambridge, 1998), and on contemporary fiction. I am one of the editors of The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
(2nd ed. 2010), the longtime editor of the journal minnesota review
, and editor of the collections The Institution of Literature (SUNY, 2002) and PC Wars: Politics and Theory in the Academy (Routledge, 1995).